Saturday, March 31, 2012

San Francisco's Chinatown Hotspot

Cantonese Style Dungeness Crab

Salt and Pepper Roast Prawns

Classic Peking Duck

A very crowded table full of tasty foods

When visiting a restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown, most locals will know how to stay clear of the many non-authentic tourist style restaurants. But those in the know can agree on one restaurant that is good and has been around for many years, Yuet Lee Seafood restaurant on Stockton Street which serves Chinese and Cantonese foods. Maybe you have even seen it on some of those cable TV food shows? This brightly lit hole-in-the-wall does not look like much on the inside but they do a really great job with the food.  It's so good that you will find local chefs hanging out and eating there after they finish working in their kitchens. Staying open 'till 3 am on weekends is also a plus with the night club crowd . Be sure to try the salt and pepper squid and the Dungeness crab that they will present to you for inspection before cooking. As for non-seafood dishes, be sure to try the Pork Chow Fun noodles which were amazing!

Yuet Lee Restaurant
1300 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA
415-982 -6020

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Night Pasta

Spicy Puttanesca Pasta with Sea Bass
It's been a long week at work and tonight I just want to keep my dinner quick and easy, so it's going to be pasta. One of my all-time favorites is the spicy classic pasta puttanesca with the addition of sea bass. Tonight when I started cooking,  the stress of the work week melted away and I was able to finally relax and enjoy my dinner. 

Puttanesca Pasta

1 pound Linguine pasta
1 cup diced sea bass
1 can diced tomatoes (14oz)
1/2 cup sliced olives
1 teaspoon dry chili flakes
1/4 diced yellow onion
1/4 diced fennel bulb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 splash of white wine

1. Saute the fennel, onion, garlic in olive oil.
2. Add the wine and tomatoes, simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Blend the sauce or leave chunky if you like, check seasoning.
4. Add the olives and chili flakes.
5. While the sauce is cooking bring  2-3 quarts of salted water to a boil.
6. cook pasta till just done, drain and add the sauce, enjoy.

Yield = 4
Note: For the sauce: chopped capers and anchovies can be added but they are salty, so watch the amount of salt added.
Cooking tip: The hot drained pasta water can be used to preheat the pasta bowls.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's Spring, Get Cooking

A huge display of Asparagus at the Market
When asparagus shows up to market it signals that Spring has arrived and that Summer foods are right around the corner. This weekend I made an oven roasted chicken and grilled vegetable salad using plenty of asparagus.

Spring Time Chicken & Grilled Vegetable Salad
1 whole chicken, cooked
1 bunch asparagus
1 yellow onion, sliced into thick rings
1 fennel bulb, sliced thick
1 handful baby arugula
1 dash extra virgin olive oil
1 dash champagne vinegar

1. Season and roast a whole chicken; shred meat after it's cooled.
2. Season vegetables and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Grill till tender, slice into bite size pieces.
4. Toss all ingredients well, adjust seasoning if necessary.

Yield = 4-6

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Home Made Mustard

Whole Grain Ale Mustard

Most of us have seen and used mustard our whole lives but are not really sure what it is or how it's made. In the most basic form it's just ground mustard seed paste with spices and it's really very easy to make. My recipe uses beer as one of the primary ingredients and it will give great flavor. With Summer comes many grilled foods like sausages, and the addition of your very own mustard will bring many compliments.

Whole Grain Mustard
1 bottle ale or stout beer
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups whole mustard seeds
1 T kosher salt
1/2  t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground allspice

1. Place ingredients in a non reactive container, cover.
2. Store mustard mixture for two days. (Does not have to be refrigerated.)
3. Blend mixture till it becomes a semi-smooth paste; water can be added if too thick.
4. Place mustard in jars or other container, The flavor will mellow after a week or two.
Note: will keep refrigerated for 3 months.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Late Winter Comfort

Braised Chicken Leg with Creamy Polenta

I was all ready for Spring to start when a big late season storm blew into town this week.  It's one last chance for a rainy night comfort meal. The first idea that came to mind was doing chicken legs slowly braised in wine, tomatoes, garlic and fresh sage. Very easy to prep and it cooks unattended while you relax and watch the rain. The perfect side and a personal favorite of mine is creamy polenta. While it's slowly cooking, open up a bottle of a good red to sip in front of the fireplace.

Braised Chicken Legs
4 chicken legs
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, sliced thin
1 bunch fresh sage, rough chopped
3 roma tomatoes, diced
2 cup red or white wine
Dash olive oil
Kosher salt/fresh cracked pepper

1. In a deep, heavy oven-proof pot with lid, heat olive oil.
2. Season the chicken legs and place skin side down in pan to brown.
3. Turn chicken on all sides to evenly brown, add garlic, tomatoes, sage, & onions.
4. After vegetables have softened, add the wine with enough water to cover the chicken.
5. Put lid on and place in 325F oven for at least two hours.
6. Remove chicken legs and keep warm.
7. Bring liquid to a boil and cook till reduced and it becomes a slightly thickened sauce.
8. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary, spoon sauce over chicken.

Note: Great with pasta or polenta.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Urban Garden in San Francisco

Growing Cabbage

Most of the time I notice the changing of the seasons by seeing new produce arrive at my local farmers market, the other somewhat odd place I see seasonal vegetables is a small urban garden in downtown San Francisco.  I have been driving by this garden for years and I always notice what's being planted and harvested; I always like to see the bright red summer tomatoes surrounded by grey buildings. This small plot of land is called the Tenderloin People's Garden and all the volunteer-grown vegetables are given away free to local residents.  It's a win for everyone.
A Spot of Green in a Sea of Grey

Monday, March 05, 2012

Grilling Dinner on San Francisco Bay

I just had a weekend with the kind of weather that makes it so nice to live here, a warm breeze and crystal blue skies. When it's this nice I will always try to take the boat out for a sail, which I did. After a long and lazy bay cruise with the sun getting lower in the sky, it was time to fire up the BBQ mounted on the back of the boat. Tonight's menu was tandoori marinated chicken with a Greek style salad and a bottle of chilled Pinot Gris.
This Mediterranean menu went perfectly with the balmy "Winter" evening.
Cooking with a San Francisco view
Tandoori Chicken
2 Chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces
2 T Tandoori paste*
2 T plain yogurt
1 t kosher salt

Greek Salad
1/2 English cucumber, diced
2 Tomato, Diced
8 Kalamatta olives
1/4 Red Onion, sliced thin
2 T Extra Virgin olive oil
1 T Sherry vinegar
Pinch Kosher salt
1 t Pepper
1 t Oregano

1. Mix chicken, tandoori paste and yogurt well, store in plastic zip bag, keep chilled till ready to use.
2. Toss all the salad ingredients together, keep chilled in a Ziploc plastic bag.
3. Cook the chicken over a hot and clean grill till just cooked through, turning occasionally.
4. Pour yourself a glass of wine to enjoy with dinner while admiring the water view.


*Note: Tandoori paste or powder can be found in the international section of well stocked markets.